Saturday, October 29, 2011

Genres?

It seems to me that there are two genres that should have names.

The first one is weird crazy unbelievable outlandish books that somehow work despite being nutsy. Books that fall into this category are:

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Discworld books by Terry Pratchett
Blank It comics by Aric McKeown and Lem Pew*

My brother tells me that there is a name for this genre, but I don't know what it is.

The other genre is where young women defy social norms, overcome obstacles, and make their mark on a patriarchal world despite the odds. Books in this category include:

Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer**
Nobody's Princess by Esther M. Friesner

Or am I wrong? Should these be called themes or tropes instead of genres?

*Blank It is a web comic that you can find here: http://blankitcomics.com/
**Holly Short is not the main character, but she's a major enough character that I think the book qualifies as being in this genre/theme/trope.

Awesome awesome books coming out!

I begged mom to pre-order me a copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I got to hear the first chapter of the book in the following YouTube, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.



Isn't it fantastic?

On the subject of me getting my hands on awesome awesome books, I'd also like to mention that I cannot wait to get ahold of Tamora Pierce's third Beka Cooper book!!! I pre-ordered it, it came out on the 25th, and I should get it on November 1st. Once I get my hands on that book I doubt that anyone will be able to get any sense out of me until I've finished it. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A good Halloween read...

October 31st is coming up, and for some reason I was suddenly reminded of a certain book that would be a good read for anyone who is looking for a good (and more funny than scary) ghost story. And guess what! It's a book I've reviewed in the past. Without further ado, here's my review:


"It's me again, Hank the Cowdog."

So begins the ninth installment of John R. Erickson's Hank the Cowdog series. And I'd like to note right at the beginning of this review that the series does not have to be read in order -- any and every book in this series is a good stand alone story.

Hank the Cowdog is Head of Ranch Security in ranch in Texas. As the Head of Ranch Security he ensures the safety of the ranch and deals with any trespassers, whether they be human, animal, or ghost. Except, he doesn't believe in ghosts. Or does he?

In this book you will meet Drover, Hank's loyal if somewhat cowardly side kick, who does seem to have slightly more sense than Hank. You'll also meet a ranch hand named Slim Chance, a couple of lost buzzards, five trick or treaters, and a ghost who doesn't care that Hank doesn't believe in it.

All these characters, added to the fact that Hank can never keep his nose out of trouble (and is always wondering why he keeps getting in trouble) makes for a great read. I would like to recommend, however, that you either read it aloud or get the audio book version of it. It seems to me that this particular book is just better when it's no longer just words on a page.

Happy reading! :)

Sorting out "Mansfield Park" characters

I'm reading Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, and I was getting confused about who's who. So, I've made family trees, and skimmed everything I've read so far (only five chapters) to note down every character mentioned.

So far, here are the family trees:

The family trees

I'm not sure how to put the family tree into a format that would work for any blind readers. My apologies.

Before I wrote out the tidy family tree above I took some very untidy notes, which I show below. They contain minor spoilers, such as love interests, which I only consider to be minor spoilers because they happen in the first five chapters.

Messy family tree notes and notes on other characters

Fortunately, I do know how to put down some of my random notes in a format that any blind readers can look at. :) The messy non-family tree related notes are as follows:

*Currently on chapter VI
*Mrs. Norris suggested they take in Fanny

Characters:

Nanny -- the nanny
Miss Lee -- servant
Ellis -- servant
Pug -- Lady Bertram's dog
Dr Grant and wife -- occupy Parsonage
old grey pony -- Fanny's riding horse
Miss Anderson -- a woman referenced
Mrs. Holford -- a woman referenced
Sneyds' and Miss Augusta -- a family referenced

EDIT: After reading further I realized a mistake in a family tree, which is that Henry and Mary are the niece and nephew of the admiral and his wife, not the children of them. I also figured out that Mrs. Crawford is the sister of Mrs. Grant, a detail that I hadn't been sure of -- I couldn't figure out whether she or the admiral were Mrs. Grant's sibling.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Artemis Fowl

So, on the topic of Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer again...

SPOILERS for books 1 through 3

I have two questions.

Question number one: If someone falls asleep after time has been stopped then they move with the natural pace of time and leave the time stop. This is how Artemis Fowl and his minions escaped. But what about Cudgeon? He gets knocked out by Commander Root. Shouldn't he have also disappeared? Yet it's something that doesn't get mentioned.

Question number two: All LEP equipment has a self destruct for in case they fall into human hands. I'm pretty sure that this is true throughout all of the books And yet the LEP stuff that Artemis gets ahold of in book one doesn't get destroyed, and he's able to play with it. In fact, the plot of book three revolves around the fact that Artemis has been playing with stolen LEP technology.

So was I wrong, and Foaly only adds the self destruct after meeting Artemis, or is there an inconsistency here?

Finding inconsistencies wouldn't be so much fun if I didn't love these books.

EDIT on 10/10/11: While listening to book three last night I discovered that Artemis Fowl had fiddled with the self destruct in the LEP technology he'd stolen, so there isn't any inconsistency there after all. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Commander Root in Artemis Fowl

As I may have mentioned before I have a tendency to listen to audio books as I go to sleep. In the last few weeks I have listened to Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident. I'll start on Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code tonight.

These are books that I've read and/or listened to many times before. But then again, if I'm listening to a book during sleepy time it has to be one I'm familiar with.


These are fabulous books, and one of the interesting things about these books is the inconsistencies found in them. One example is Commander Root's personality.

In book one Root is downright nasty. In later books he still isn't exactly friendly, but he's not so likely to douse his fungus cigar in someone's coffee (as he does in book one...or anyways I think it was coffee). Of course, it could be argued that book one is supposedly a report put together by Argon, and that therefore we're seeing Argon's perception of Root rather than what Root is really like.

So, is this an inconsistency on Colfer's part, or is Colfer just showing us Argon's perception of Root?

Interesting question. And I'm not sure of the answer.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Artemis Fowl: Science Fantasy

About a month ago I discovered the awesome book WebMage by Kelly McCullough and was astounded to see it described as science fantasy. I'd never heard of the science fantasy genre before! Yet science fantasy describes that book so much better than either fantasy or science fiction would.

Cover of the first Artemis Fowl book
Since then I've gotten used to the idea of science fantasy, and I intend to eventually get around to reading some science fantasy books that a commenter recommended. (Have I mentioned that I love it when people comment on my blogs?) I had also decided that WebMage was the only science fantasy book I've ever read.

But guess what? I realized a couple weeks ago that one of my favorite series is science fantasy.

Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer, combines fairy magic with super advanced technology. Yep, that's right. The fairies have magic, and they also have technology that far exceeds anything humans have managed to come up with so far.

Is that awesome or what? :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fun(ny) text book

I'm taking a psychology class online. (Actually, I was on the verge of switching classes because I thought it was a mistake to take this class online as opposed in in person on campus, but on second thought I think I can handle it after all!) Anyways, my psych book is quite interesting and I wanted to share some amusing excerpts.

"But sometimes a full and complete picture is just TMI*" (49).

And then at the bottom of the page...

"*Our publisher thinks you need a bunch of middle-aged professors to tell you this means 'too much information,' so there, we told you. LOL."

Someone's got a sense of humor!

And on the following page, during a discussion of medians, means, and modes...

"When Bill Gates walks into a room he dramatically increases the mean income of the people in it, but doesn't much change the median, and has nothing to do with the mode. Microsoft is working on a fix for that" (50).

One of these authors is quite a character. And I'm actually having fun with this text book. :)

The book!

The book is the second edition of Psychology by Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert, and Daniel M. Wegner. Hey, each of their first names are Daniel. What's up with that?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Murtagh and Thorn

I really should be doing homework, but my brain isn't working, so I'm instead going to write about a topic that I don't have to think about because I've already thought about it!

What will happen to Murtagh and Thorn in book four of Inheritance?

SPOILERS for books 1 through 3

I'm not really going to make any predictions. Because I really have no clue! But there are two possibilities I can see, so even though I won't make predictions I will speculate.

One of my ideas is that Thorn and Murtagh get killed in the fighting. However, if this happens, I don't think that it will be Eragon who kills them. I just can't see him doing that...unless maybe Murtagh is actively trying to kill someone else, especially someone who Eragon cares about. Hmm, I hadn't thought of that until I sat down to write.

My other idea is that Galbatorix gets killed and that Murtagh and Thorn are freed. But then what would they do? After all they've done they won't exactly be welcomed by those who opposed Galbatorix...really their only option would be to leave Alagaësia forever with Eragon, but I don't think that Eragon would welcome him along for the ride after everything that Murtagh has done.

Hmm, or maybe Murtagh and Thorn survive but they go off in a different direction than Eragon and Saphira...

So I guess that there isn't really any point to this post, other than to state the obvious possibilities.

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